Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles

Class action: amount in controversy: jurisdiction of a federal district court: the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) gives federal district courts original jurisdiction over class actions in which, among other things, the matter in controversy exceeds $5 million in sum or value, 28 U. S. C. §§1332(d)(2), (5), and provides that to determine whether a matter exceeds that amount the “claims of the individual class members must be aggregated,” §1332(d)(6). When respondent Knowles filed a proposed class action in Arkansas state court against petitioner Standard Fire Insurance Company, he stipulated that he and the class would seek less than $5 million in damages. Pointing to CAFA, petitioner removed the case to the Federal District Court, but it remanded to the state court, concluding that the amount in controversy fell below the CAFA threshold in light of Knowles’ stipu­lation, even though it found that the amount would have fallen above the threshold absent the stipulation; Knowles’ stipulation does not defeat federal jurisdiction under CAFA; here, the precertification stipulation can tie Knowles’ hands be­cause stipulations are binding on the party who makes them, see Christian Legal Soc. Chapter of Univ. of Cal., Hastings College of Law v. Martinez, 561 U. S. ___. However, the stipulation does not speak for those Knowles purports to represent, for a plaintiff who files a proposed class action cannot legally bind members of the pro­posed class before the class is certified. See Smith v. Bayer Corp., 564 U. S. ___, ___. Because Knowles lacked authority to concede the amount in controversy for absent class members, the District Court wrongly concluded that his stipulation could overcome its finding that the CAFA jurisdictional threshold had been met; CAFA’s objective: ensuring “Federal court consideration of interstate cases of national importance.” §2(b)(2), 119 Stat. 5 (U.S. S. Ct., 19.03.13, Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, J. Breyer, unanimous).

Action de classe : montant litigieux et compétence des cours fédérales : la loi confère à la cour de district fédérale originale juridiction pour connaître des actions de classe dans les cas où la valeur litigieuse excède 5 millions. Pour déterminer la valeur litigieuse, les montants réclamés par chaque membre de la classe doivent être additionnés, même si dans sa requête en certification, le requérant se limite à une somme totale de 5 millions ou moins pour rester dans la compétence des cours des Etats. En effet, en procédure de précertification, le représentant de la classe ne peut lier les autres membres de la classe par des stipulations limitatives. L'objectif de la loi est de garantir la compétence de la juridiction fédérale dans des cas interétatiques d'importance nationale.

No comments:

Post a Comment